LIMERICK’s only representative in The Voice of Ireland competition says she “struck gold” when she secured multi-million selling artist Dolores O’Riordan as her mentor.
Kilbehenny native Kellie Lewis - who is one of 16 finalists left battling it out for the top spot in the RTE singing competition - hopes that with Dolores by her side, she can go all the way to the final on April 27 and perhaps even win it.
“My main influence has always been The Cranberries so working with Dolores has been like a dream come true,” said the 21-year-old this week.
“Dolores was my inspiration since a very young age - around eight years old - and when I found out that she was going to be the new coach, I was ecstatic about the whole situation. Then when she turned around for me, it felt like I had struck gold. Her experience is priceless.”
The formidable Limerick duo – Dolores is a native of Ballybricken – are already plotting on how best to showcase Kellie’s singing voice when she performs again before a live audience on April 6.
For her last performance on March 16, Kellie wowed with her performance of Birdy’s Wings. However, for now, she must keep the name of the next song she has chosen, under wraps.
“Myself and Dolores have picked a really cool tune. It’s one of my favourite songs at the moment,” she explained.
Speaking from her family home – a dairy farm in Knocknascrow, high up on Galtymore, Kellie, who is one of nine girls in her family, said she is especially proud to be representing her native Limerick on the popular talent show.
“I’m a Limerick woman through and through. We would be Limerick GAA supporters. Since we were very small we would always go to the matches,” said the music student who has been living in Cork city for the last four years.
She is in her second year in UCC and also works in The Bodega nightclub and restaurant in Cork.
She also has her own band, Kellie Lewis & The Timekeepers.
Her parents Mary and William and her eight sisters - Brigid, Ellen, Maura, Carol, Michelle, Annie, Trisha, and Juliette – have been a huge support for her throughout the competition. “I’ll be honest with you, they are my best friends,” she said of her siblings.
“We are extremely close. Not a day goes by when we all don’t talk. I’m very lucky to have them and they have been a massive support during The Voice. They travel to Dublin to support me for the live shows.”
Three of her sisters live in Cork city while the rest of her sisters live in or around Kilbehenny.
“I have taken time off of work and I have been spending a lot of time at home since The Voice started – it is very relaxing, a big difference from the city. I’m just chilling out,” Kellie explained.
The talent in the competition this year, she said, has been “staggering”. “Everyone absolutely deserves to be on that stage singing their hearts out for the public. I don’t compare myself to other people. I very much have tunnel vision. I think if you start comparing yourself to somebody, you will drive yourself insane. At the end of the day, you are unique and when it comes down to music, you should be proud of what you have.”